Posted by: annmucc | February 27, 2010

Dixit Dominus: Discovering BBC’s Handel

BBC Singers anyone? Handel? Yesterday we got them together in a Workshop on his Dixit Dominus at St. Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge (which incidentally this week also hosted Alexander McQueen’s funeral).

First up was a performance called ‘Wind Cries Mary’ written by a group of students from Marylebone Church of England music students in collaboration with Tim Steiner and the BBC Singers. The seven students each wrote a movement of the 7-movement piece inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s Wind Cries Mary, and Handel’s Dixit Dominus (hear that further down).

I was impressed by the clarity of sound and structure of the music of these (probably?) beginner-composers. They took a well-deserved round of applause at the end of the piece.

This was then followed by the main part of the evening programme, which was a recording for the Discovering Music series on BBC Radio 3. In it Robert Hollingworth presented the music, with James O’Donnell as the conductor, St James’s Baroque as the orchestral part and of course the BBC Singers. What they did was to first discuss the main parts of the piece, highlighted by some verses sung and/or played. This allowed us (and the future radio audience) to start getting familiar with the piece and understanding why and how it works. The last part of the evening was then a run-through of the whole performance. You can hear part of Dixit Dominus here: (not the one recorded yesterday as that will only be shown much later on)

A good performance over all. If I had to find anything to grip about it would have to be that we were sitting on the side and especially when the soloists were singing it was not always possible to hear them clearly…compared to other venues like the Barbican Theatre, the acoustics were not as good, but then I guess this performance was made for radio not live audience, while Barbican performances are tailored to the live audience, besides the place being built for that specific reason.

All in all a good evening. Now looking forward to a good weekend, especially after this week we got to know we’ll have visitors: right now waiting for Karen from Empty Nest Expat to get in from Heathrow airport and look forward to a weekend with her!

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